Out of the mist and rain came waterborne Vikings to battle on Dun Laoghaire's East Pier yesterday afternoon. The Irish National Sailing School (INSS) co-ordinated a free and family–friendly event that featured battles, longboats and a Viking village from 12-5pm.
Like a thousand years ago, the marauding did not commence on time. Downpours, however, did not deter an impressive crowd of hundreds, huddled together at the town's bandstand. By battle–time there was a steady stream of people on the pier's top level. Some locals even took it upon themselves to intercourse with invaders. Others were more focussed on the fight.
INSS's Alistair Rumball, who provides Marine Film Location Services to the hit TV series Vikings, has been blamed for the Norse incursion.
His unlikely alliance with harbour forces including, King of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Gerry Dunne, led to the pitting of seafarers versus townspeople on the occasion of the harbour's bicentenary.
The onset of bad weather though, meant the Vikings, who approached under oar and sail, arrived early at the harbour mouth (Battle of Clontarf, here we go again) and Chief Rumball decreed battle should commence by 2pm.
The battle was shorter than in Clontarf's sunrise to sunset exaggerated affair, but ended all the same in a rout of the Leinster forces that was witnessed by the High Chief of Leinster, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, Minister of State at the Department of Education.
The Viking contingent led by Sigurd Stena Line of Orkney and Brodir Irish Ferries of Mann were soon back in charge of the Piers – to the relief of many.